Some see prenuptial agreements as unromantic while others see them in a similar vein to critical illness insurance, hopefully unnecessary but useful to have in place should the worst happen.
With over 91,000 civil partnerships and marriages coming to an end in 2018 it may seem sensible to plan for the future. A pre-nuptial agreement (also known as a ‘pre-nup’) would mean you and your partner start marriage with confidence about your financial wellbeing should your relationship ever change.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenup is a formal, written agreement between two partners prior to their marriage. It sets out ownership of all their belongings (including money, assets and property) and explains how it will be divided in the event of the breakdown of their marriage. It isn’t just about financial value. You might have an inheritance, a trust fund or possessions with sentimental value you want to keep in your family, or a business which one of you wants to remain in control of.
A Post- Nuptial Agreement is essentially the same as a pre-nup, but is entered into during the marriage rather than before it.
How to get a prenuptial agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are recognised by the courts in the UK. They are usually upheld where they are fair, entered into free of pressure, with good advice and meet the needs of both parties and the children. Your aim should be to make an agreement that lays out how you and your partner would divide things fairly should your marriage or civil partnership come to an end.
It will need to be drafted by a legal professional to make sure that the agreement abides by UK law. Our specialist family finances team have over a decade of experience dealing with prenuptial and post nuptial agreements.
Similarly to a cohabitation agreement, the pre-nup must be entered into by both parties freely and knowingly – that means you must both understand the agreement fully and agree to it voluntarily. You both also need to fully disclose information about your financial situation and assets.
You and your partner will need separate legal advice to help you review the agreement independently and this will help show that no one acting involuntarily.
A pre-nuptial agreement must be signed at least 21 days (and ideally longer) before the marriage to avoid claims that it was arranged in a rush or by putting one party under pressure. It also means you have time to concentrate on all the last minute preparations of your big day.
Specialist family lawyers on your side
The largest specialist family law company in the South West, the family law company provide clients with a holistic approach to prenuptial agreements. With over 20 years dedicated to family law our team understand the emotions and sensitivities that come with drafting a prenuptial agreement and work with clients to ensure they have an agreement that meets their intentions.